Military Families Are Never Alone

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I am SO excited to introduce this Guest Blogger to you!! If you haven’t found Patty’s blog yet, I urge you to take a quick peek over at Thoughts of an American Woman. She has graciously written an article for me to share with you all. I want her to share how the Lord is using her to minister to military families. As we go into these days of Christmas, please lift up a prayer and reach out to a military family that might be near you. Enjoy!! ~ FFS

I would like to thank the author of Future.Flying.Saucers for asking me to be her guest writer. This is the first time anyone has ever asked me to write an article, so it was a challenge and an honor. So thank you FFS for helping me take that first step out of my comfort zone. ~ Patty

Military families will always deal with the pain of separations.  Separations come in many forms in the military from saying goodbye to your home, your families, all that is familiar as you transfer from post to post, and to saying good-bye to your spouse and children through the long separation of deployments. Saying “good-bye” is routine and is part of the hardships and challenges of the military life.

While I was growing up in the Army, the anticipation of relocating to a new post brought adventure. But that adventure brought sorrow at having to say good bye to friends.  With the joy of celebrating holidays came the regret of not being surrounded by grandparents, aunts and uncles. But the hardest part for me, and I am sure for many military families, are the separations from your spouse or your parents.  I was about 3 yrs old when my dad left for duty in Washington DC leaving my mother and us children behind.  According to mom, I had stopped eating, talking and just sat there in a daze.  The doctors were baffled so they called dad home and as he walked into my room he said in his loud voice (what we referred to as his drill sergeant voice), “What is going on young lady?” I turned and ran to him. I missed my daddy!  That would only be the beginning of my struggles of dealing with the pain of separations.

Tom and Tommy before they both deployed the first time.

Tom and Tommy before they both deployed the first time.

The hardest separation came in early 2002 when both my husband, then serving in the PA Army National Guard {PAANG} and my son who just graduated basic training had orders to deploy. Times were uncertain and we did not know what would transpire.  A part of me wanted to be that little 3 yr old girl who wanted to hide from the pain of separation, who was waiting for daddy to come home.  40 yrs later I was waiting once again, but now I waited for my husband and my son, to come home, struggling with the urge to run away again from the pain of separation that also brought fear and loneliness.

Tom attaching Tommy's Infantry cord after he graduatedBasic Training at Ft Benning, GA.

Tom attaching Tommy’s Infantry cord after he graduated
Basic Training at Ft Benning, GA.

Although their PAANG units have an FRG (Family Readiness Group), at that time they were not prepared to deal with the spouses, let alone the parents.  And I was both.  I had to find ways to cope and to help my then 15 year old daughter who had her own struggles with dad and brother being gone.  But it was during this time that God kept His promise to me.  I was not alone, He was with me.  As I cried out in fear, He came to calm my fears.  He calmed my nightmares with His peace. It was only through the strength of God that I did not turn into that little girl ready to escape from my pain by withdrawing into myself.

When our son deployed for the second time, my husband was recently retired.  He told me being the one who leaves is a lot easier than being left behind. Now I was able to be there for him. Together we wrapped our son under God’s care, and on more than one occasion our son felt God’s presence.

Tommy arriving home from Bosnia, they had just gotten off thebuses at their home unit here in Williamsport.

Tommy arriving home from Bosnia, they had just gotten off the
buses at their home unit here in Williamsport.

Today I minister to military families, not as a counselor, but as a mother who had to say good-bye, and as an Army wife who understands their loneliness. I can encourage them through my own experience and share with them the promise of God: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you…so we can say with confidence ‘the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid’…” {Hebrews 13:5-6} I know through my own experience that military families are truly never alone. God is beside them. He sends His servants to minister to them; and He knits their hearts together as one so the miles will never truly separate them from their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and mommies and daddies.

Each of us can show God’s mercy to anyone who is hurting, whether they are military families dealing with deployments, widows, single parents, or a husband who recently lost his job. We only need to be there for them, sharing God’s compassion for each other and reminding them they are never alone. All they need to do is to call on the name of Jesus.

By Patty @ Thoughts of an American Woman

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Military Families Are Never Alone — 12 Comments

  1. Pingback: Guest Blogger! | Thoughts From An American Woman

  2. Oh Patty, my heart was aching for you as I read your story. That must be very unusual to have father and son leaving together. Oh the agony of it….

    You are the perfect person to sit with those whose pain is fresh and raw. I truly admire you and your family for all the sacrifices you have given our country and democracy around the world.

  3. I found this a very moving piece. I have no connection with any military families, and so had not especially thought of how tough life must be for them as they move round the world, both together and apart, always knowing that the serving family member might never return. How interesting that despite this, your family now has a long tradition of military service. I wonder, Patty, if yours is not the hardest role, always left behind, never getting the recognition of those ‘in the front line’? You seem to have made wonderful use of your special experience to support others. A wonderful gift.

    • Thank you margaret, there is a saying “the hardest job in the military is that of military spouse” actually I changed that to include moms,{and dads} and say families. But with the bad there are much more good things that I guess we focus on.

  4. Love this, you have seen it all! We just started supporting some deployed soldiers and it has been amazing. I’m learning little things mean a lot. Our plane last night was full of service men/women returning home for the holidays, I wanted to hug em all! Thank you for your sacrifices!

  5. I do not hear often about those who are left behind. I hear about those who are deployed. Thank you “Super Jo” for this excellent post! Praying for all those brave men and women who serve in our forces…and those who are left home missing them.

Thoughts? Please share!